The first MDA Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon was held the weekend of
September 4 and 5, 1966 and was broadcast by a single station in New
York (WNEW-TV). The telecast was such a success that the Association
selected Labor Day weekend for all future Telethons.
Then, with help from broadcasting icons Sylvester “Pat” Weaver and
Robert M. Bennett, the Association created a “Love Network” of stations
that in 1971 facilitated the nation’s first networked Telethon.
Since 1966, the MDA Labor Day Telethon has had a variety of names,
including the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, “The” Telethon and Stars Across
The popular Labor Day weekend show has originated from New York, Las
Vegas and Hollywood. Now broadcast by more than 150 television stations,
the annual telecast has frequently included live remote segments.
On May 16, 2011, Jerry Lewis announced that he was retiring as host of the
annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Ed McMahon (right) served as Telephone anchor for 40
years, starting in 1968
Jerry with one of his special ”Kids”
Ramblin’ Rod Anders (November 26, 1933 – May 11, 2002), born
Rodney Carl Andersen
Anders hosted local MDA telethon segments on KPTV 12 in Portland,
Oregon for 31 years.